This week of gigs is whizzing by. I couldn't quite believe that tonight in Newcastle was the 6th of the 7. One of the good things about time passing more quickly when you're older is that a week away seems like nothing. Soon I will be in my grave. I am delighted.
And it's been a great boost to the tour with four sell-outs (maybe five if I can sell the last ten tickets in Shrewsbury on Wednesday night) and tonight with another audience of over 400. It was a playful show and I, at least, enjoyed it massively, which I believe is the point. It is still mind blowing to me when I stop and think about that many people paying to see me talk. I am both amazed and a little bit proud of myself for having achieved this. It's only taken 25 years of hard work too. Imagine how many people will be coming to see me in 2039. Maybe 600.
I would be absolutely delighted if I could get to a point where 400 people came and saw me everywhere I went. It's such an enjoyable sized audience to play. Small enough that the gig still feels intimate and relevant to everyone, but big enough to be able to get rolling laughs and subsidary laughs for a look or a gesture or a pause. And I would be able to make a very nice living from that. I still remain a loose secret as a stand up I think, but the longer it goes on the more pleased I am about that. It's given me time to learn how to do this job properly and I love the look of surprise on people's face who come to see me for the first time and expect me to be a bit rubbish because I am not on the telly, to find out I am quite good. How can that be? All the good comics get on telly, right?
If you're a comedian struggling to make your way up the ladder, frustrated about how hard you have to work to break through, then for me at least, the years of driving hundreds of miles to perform to 10 unsmiling people and then crying in service stations or feeling hopelessly alone in snot smeared budget hotels was all worth it. I have not got as high up the ladder as I perhaps dreamed or as you would like to be. But on the journey here I have discovered that my ambitions were shallow and pathetic. A week like this week, as tiring as it still is, is what being a comedian is all about.
I remember the venue from last year, but weirdly I have almost no memory of the hotel. When we arrived and Giles insisted we'd stayed here in 2013 I told him I thought he had made a mistake. He works with lots of acts and he's very old and his memory is going, so he can be forgiven for getting confused. The hotel is right opposite Newcastle United's football ground and I was sure I would have remembered that.And it wasn't part of a chain that I've stayed at anywhere else (often the Holiday or Premier Inns will blend into one) so I was sure I would have recalled the hotel itself. But even once we were in there nothing was familiar. But Giles reminded me that we'd had a drink in the bar after the show last year, which had had noisy music and dolled up waitresses serving drinks and I had to concede that I remembered that. But nothing else.
It's lucky I write down everything that happens to me, as it means it doesn't matter if my memory works or not. It seems that part of the reason the place was unfamilar is because we only arrived here late, after the gig. I lost a sock here too. Unless it turned up later, which I think it might have. It certainly wasn't in my room tonight waiting for me.
I think I am losing my memory a bit anyway, but it's as much to do with the monotony of touring. It does all blur and time stretches and contracts. We went back into the bar tonight and it all came flooding back. Most hotel bars are quiet and desolate places, but this one is more of a nightclub (and non-hotel guests are welcome there), which is a bit jarring when you want a quiet wind down drink. Even though there was hardly any customers and at least seven staff it took me five minutes to get served.
The video of the RHLSTP with Greg Davies (for me one of the funniest ones there has been) is now up on gofasterstripe. You can also pay for an audio pass there if you can't wait for the free version to come out (or if you just fancy helping us pay for these). To give you an idea of what the video adds to the experience, here is a little free clip from the night. And if you are one of my monthlies (people who've give a pound or more a month at gofasterstripe or made a one off donation of £12 or more) then you can get access to the secret channel, which includes an extra backstage interview. Again the one with Greg (also featuring Alexei Sayle) is a lot of fun. Thanks for your support.